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We hear critics use the term "tour de force" to describe the very best in literature—strokes of genius that defy comparison and stand in a class all their own. Like The Lord of the Rings and Gone with the Wind, or more recently Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84.


What makes these latest works the most brilliant from their authors – and groundbreaking books in their genres? Read on to find out as we explore 10 new masterpieces.


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  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (41319)
    Performance
    (37414)
    Story
    (37332)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    It's finally out - the book we've been waiting for: Stephen King's genre-defying epic, 11/22/63. Part history, part thriller - with a dash of time travel - this 30+ hour novel is not only epic in length, but also in scope (i.e. If you could travel back in time to stop JFK's assassination, would you?).
  • 1Q84

    • UNABRIDGED (46 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (translator), Philip Gabriel (translator)
    • Narrated By Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor, Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6427)
    Performance
    (5701)
    Story
    (5679)

    The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

    A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 - "Q" is for "question mark". A world that bears a question....

    Theodore says: "Hard to Find Fault"
    Haruki Murakami has established himself as one of the world's greatest writers, and in 1Q84 he wows listeners once again. At once a love story, mystery, fantasy, novel of self-discovery, and dystopia (to rival Orwell's), this dreamlike saga—and its multicast narration—will quickly suck you in.
  • The Prague Cemetery

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Umberto Eco
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (385)
    Performance
    (334)
    Story
    (335)

    Whether it’s a critically acclaimed novel or provocative collection of essays, every work from best-selling author Umberto Eco is a highly anticipated publishing event. The Prague Cemetery is set amid conspiracy-rich 19th century Europe, where intrigue abounds—and where a lone, evil genius may be pulling all the strings.

    Mel says: "Umbrage and Umberto; Peanut Butter and Jelly"
    The Huffington Post says it best about Umberto Eco's new novel: "I find this book fascinating, perhaps the best Eco has written in years. Eco takes on conspiracy theories in the feverish political activism of nineteenth-century Europe—freemasonry, the Italian Risorgimento, the Paris Commune, and above all the forgery of the slanderous The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. What if there were a single mastermind behind all these conspiracies? It's already a best seller in Italy, and I can't get enough of it!"
  • The Winds of War

    • UNABRIDGED (45 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Herman Wouk
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5011)
    Performance
    (4412)
    Story
    (4415)

    Herman Wouk's sweeping epic of World War II stands as the crowning achievement of one of America's most celebrated storytellers. Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative captures the tide of global events - and all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of World War II - as it immerses us in the lives of a single American family drawn into the very center of the war's maelstrom.

    Robert says: "A Masterpiece"
    A masterpiece of historical fiction, Herman Wouk's newly-added The Winds of War is not only a classic war novel, but also the Great Novel of America's "Greatest Generation". Like no other books about the war, Wouk's spellbinding narrative—expertly voiced by Kevin Pariseau—captures all the drama, romance, heroism, and tragedy of World War II.
  • Blue Nights

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Joan Didion
    • Narrated By Kimberly Farr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (210)
    Performance
    (181)
    Story
    (183)

    From one of our most powerful writers, a work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter. Richly textured with bits of her own childhood and married life with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and daughter, Quintana Roo, this new book by Joan Didion examines her thoughts, fears, and doubts regarding having children, illness, and growing old.

    Doggy Bird says: "Extremely moving memoir, well-narrated"
    As a Joan Didion fan, who has read virtually all of the author's books, readernyc says of Didion's new memoir, "I do not recall, not even in The Year of Magical Thinking, a Didion book that is so direct, that pulls no punches. I agree she had a wonderful life until she lost in quick succession a husband and a daughter. She writes in a new way here. She is so clear and honest and I couldn't put this book down, as it's now almost 4 AM. I couldn't feel anything but wonder that she keeps on keeping on."
  • The Dovekeepers: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Alice Hoffman, Heather Lind
    • Narrated By Aya Cash, Jessica Hecht, Tovah Feldshuh
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1542)
    Performance
    (1305)
    Story
    (1300)

    Over five years in the writing, Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing work ever, a triumph of imagination and research set in ancient Israel. The author of such iconic bestsellers as Illumination Night, Practical Magic, Fortune’s Daughter, and Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman is one of the most popular and memorable writers of her generation. Now, in The Dovekeepers, Hoffman delivers her most masterful work yet - one that draws on her passion for mythology, magic, and archaeology and her inimitable understanding of women.

    FanB14 says: "Grade of B-"
    Five years in the making, Alice Hoffman's tour de force The Dovekeepers combines imagination and research in her most ambitious novel ever. Fans of The Red Tent are sure to love her indomitable heroines, ancient Israel setting, and passion for mythology and magic.
  • Pavane

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Keith Roberts
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (420)
    Performance
    (372)
    Story
    (374)

    Considered Keith Roberts' masterwork, this novel consists of linked short stories (six measures and a coda) of a 20th century in which the Roman Catholic Church controls the Western world, and has done so since Queen Elizabeth of England was assassinated in 1588. The Protestant Reformation never happened, and the world is kept in a Dark Age of steam-power transportation, with no allowance for electrical power, by a tyrannical Rome.

    Troy says: "It's the Characters that Outline the World"
    Hand-picked by Neil Gaiman for audio, Pavane by "general consensus is one of the great alternate history novels," says Neil. "I read one story from Pavane when I was nine, in an English science fiction monthly magazine and it scarred me. It was the first time a short story made me cry. It was Keith Roberts' masterpiece: profound and still remarkable. I love the way the narrator, Steven Crossley, subtly but definitely distinguishes each storyteller from the others, so that the unified whole really is more than the sum of its parts."
  • Feast Day of Fools: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1503)
    Performance
    (1272)
    Story
    (1262)

    Celebrated crime master and two-time Edgar Award winner James Lee Burke returns with a gorgeously crafted, brutally resonant chronicle of violence along the Texas-Mexico border. Sheriff Hackberry Holland patrols a small Southwest Texas border town, meting out punishment and delivering justice in his small square of this magnificent but lawless land. When an alcoholic ex-boxer named Danny Boy Lorca begs to be locked up after witnessing a man tortured to death by a group of bandits, Hack and his deputy, Pam Tibbs, slowly extract the Indian man’s gruesome tale.

    Eva Gannon says: "Burke Redeemed"
    What's not to love about James Lee Burke and Will Patton? Especially when they get together in a new brilliantly-plotted and perfectly-performed Hack Holland novel. Reviewers are calling Feast Day of Fools James Lee Burke's best - and most ambitious - thriller yet with "indelibly conflicted characters [that] make you want to give Burke a medal" (Kirkus Reviews).
  • The Sense of an Ending

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Julian Barnes
    • Narrated By Richard Morant
    Overall
    (938)
    Performance
    (788)
    Story
    (785)

    Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour, and wit. Maybe Adrian was more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is retired. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.

    Mel says: "'Something Happened'..."
    Yes, it won this year's Man Booker for the world's best English-language novel—and Julian Barnes' trademark precision and insight into, well, life. Barnes doesn't waste a word here, and neither will listeners waste any minute in this powerful, unsettling, and beautifully-crafted book.
  • The Marriage Plot

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Eugenides
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2126)
    Performance
    (1771)
    Story
    (1764)

    It’s the early 1980s—the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the cafés on College Hill, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels.

    FanB14 says: "Esoteric, Vapid, Trite"
    It's hard to pick just one best novel from Jeffrey Eugenides, but his long-awaited latest, The Marriage Plot, is certainly a masterpiece. Derrida and the Talking Heads? Jane Austen and George Eliot? College - and the '80s - have never been so much fun.
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